Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jim Fulton, former MP, environmentalist passes away at 58

Jim Fulton, the long time Member of Parliament for Skeena through the eighties and life long advocate for the environment, has passed away from cancer at the age of 58.

Fulton entered politics in the federal election of 1979, defeating Liberal cabinet minister Iona Campagnola and starting a fourteen year reign as the Member of Parliament for Skeena, a passionate debater he is perhaps best remembered for dropping a dead salmon on the desk of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney after a particularly heated exchange over the West Coast fishery in the House of Commons.

Re-elected time and time again, Fulton served half of his fourteen years as the NDP's environmental critic, a post that was close to his heart and provided the foundation for his later years as the long time head of the David Suzuki Foundation. He also held the post of forestry and fishery critic during his lengthy stay in the nation's capital. He was a larger than life figure in the riding and probably one of the more automatic of candidates that the region has seen in a good many years, frequently re-taking his seat by sizable margins of victory.

His formative years in the Northwest were spent on the Queen Charlottes.where he worked as a probation officer, finding that life on Haida Gwaii was to his liking, a lasting impression that he took with him from politics to the environmental movement.

The Haida accepted him as a good friend of their people , going so far as to confer upon him the honorary Haida name of Skilcutlass. A sign of respect from the elders of the Islands, for his work and respect for the traditional life on Haida Gwaii

That work in Ottawa on behalf of the Haida and all First Nations for that matter is one of his lasting legacies from his days in politics, as is his passionate and occasionally heated defence of the environment.

There will be many sad faces around the Northwest as news begins to spread over Mr. Fulton's passing, so far there have been a few articles of remembrance posted on the News services in BC and Canada, we'll add those below and more as they come along down the line.

Globe and Mail-- Jim Fulton, 57

Photo above from Vancouver Sun website...

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